Trump promises to pardon January 6 rioters if re-elected

Former US president has repeatedly refused to condemn attack on the US Capitol by his supporters

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Former president Donald Trump promised to pardon supporters convicted of offences in the deadly January 6, 2021 assault on the US Capitol if he is re-elected as president in 2024.

“If I run and if I win, we will treat those people from January 6th fairly,” Mr Trump said at a rally in Conroe, Texas, on Saturday night. “And if it requires pardons, we will give them pardons because they are being treated so unfairly.”

Mr Trump has not confirmed whether he will seek the Republican nomination for the next presidential election after his defeat by Democrat Joe Biden in 2020.

Convinced by Mr Trump's false claims that he lost the election through fraud, thousands of his supporters stormed the Capitol in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Mr Biden's victory.

More than 700 people have been charged with joining in the assault. They include more than 150 people charged with assaulting police officers, more than 50 charged with conspiracy, and charges of seditious conspiracy against the founder and leader of the far-right Oath Keepers militia group, and 10 other members or associates.

One police officer who responded at the scene died the day after the attack, while four others who guarded the Capitol died later by suicide. About 140 police officers were injured during the hours-long attack. Four rioters also died.

Mr Trump has repeatedly praised those who participated in the protest.

“It was a lot of love there,” he said recently during an interview on Fox News. “Believe me, there was a lot of love and a lot of friendship and people that love our country.”

Mr Trump was impeached by the House of Representatives for his role in inciting the insurrection but acquitted by the Senate.

As president, he used his powers to pardon or commute the sentences of numerous political allies, friends and associates, including his former chief strategist, Steve Bannon; his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and Roger Stone, a longtime friend and political ally.

Updated: January 31, 2022, 6:44 AM
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